The mercurial guard has seemingly powered through a knee injury and an airing of grievances to get to the other side. Simmons had 22 points and eight boards in the Nets’ win over the Grizzlies on Sunday. And he had 15 points and 13 boards in a win over the Trail Blazers last Thursday. The film apparently backs it all up, too.
And yet, Simmons could not officially be declared out of the woods. Because the Nets are in Philadelphia on Tuesday night to play the 76ers. Which means Simmons has to face a city of angry Santa abusers who have an obsessive hatred of him.
The fears of regression were real. Everyone remembers the temper tantrum Philly fans threw when Simmons made his return to town after the trade with the Nets. The guy was not even playing and they went all out on him. They even heckled the guy during pregame warmups. It was not a good environment.
But it appears all is going to be OK. Because Simmons has made peace with WIP’s Howard Eskin — arguably his biggest media detractor and Philly’s equivalent to Mike Francesa, if the big guy wore fur coats on the Giants’ sideline.
@BenSimmons25 is back in town to finally play for his new team @BrooklynNets . He was actually cordial, humorous at times, and open. Came off as a good guy and I know I will get ripped for saying that. If he only had that personality here. @SportsRadioWIP pic.twitter.com/YnV57VGAew
— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) November 22, 2022
— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) November 22, 2022
This is how healing happens. We’re calling it: Simmons will have a triple-double tonight in his first game at a now nationally-recognized dirty arena since the 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]